Netherlands Opens Medical Training Center for Urban Warfare in Hilversum

The Netherlands has opened a new medical training center for urban warfare at the Korporaal Van Oudheusden barracks in Hilversum.

Construction began in October 2023 to support the armed forces’ medical response teams at the Dutch Military Medical Education and Training Center (DGOTC).

The Dutch Ministry of Defense said the Hilversum facility incorporates several buildings, debris, and other deteriorated elements to provide a realistic battlefield experience.

Each building offers a residential and hotel environment with living rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms.

Other spaces were designed with a ship’s deck, galley, engine room, bridge, and sleeping quarters.

Trainees encounter warfare conditions such as explosions, smoke, and other effects that increase depending on the session’s difficulty.

Medical training center for urban warfare in Hilversum. Photo: Netherlands Ministry of Defence
Medical training center for urban warfare in Hilversum. Photo: Netherlands Ministry of Defence

“The trainers came up with the idea of ​​tackling the space a few years ago,” DGOTC Officer Michaël Leenhouwer explained.

“Learning should be fun, relevant and meaningful and take place in an attractive environment that suits your work. That is not possible in a sterile cage.”

“If you want people to retain knowledge and skills for as long as possible, you must also create a fascinating and relevant learning environment: a context that a soldier can really encounter in his or her work.”

Enhancing Medical Support Experience

The Dutch defense agency said that the training hub is expected to significantly boost the performance of military medics working on their skills under the DGOTC’s guidance.

“The space helps enormously in establishing the right mindset,” DGOTC Trainer Sgt. Maj. Annik Timmerman stated.

“You immediately become aware that you are in a combat situation. That forces you to think more tactically in a medical scenario. We would like to offer students tailor-made training. This building contributes to that.”

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